The family of a government employee who died after being struck in a Fairfax crosswalk recently settled their wrongful death lawsuit with the driver’s insurance company for just under $1 million. The victim was on his way to work when he was struck by a driver at approximately 6:45 AM near Fort Belvoir in Fairfax, Virginia. The lawsuit was filed by the victim's parents and siblings.
The driver’s insurance company, USAA, initially declined to offer the victim’s family any form of compensation for his death. USAA alleged the victim contributed to his own death by wearing dark clothing would would allegedly make him difficult to see in early morning hours.
Virginia is one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the U.S. which allow defendants to defend against lawsuits by claiming victims were contributorily negligent. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, victims of severe injuries may be unable to recover any compensation for their injuries if the court believes they were even slightly at fault in an accident.
While The Cochran Firm, D.C. did not represent the victim’s family in this case, our firm is experienced with handling wrongful death claims and defending victims against claims of contributory negligence by defendants. Wrongful death claims allow a decedent’s family to file for damages on their loved one’s behalf and help them relieve the stress of financial burdens placed on them by a loved one’s passing.
In Virginia, families may recover compensation for the pain and suffering they suffered for the loss of their loved one. Families of decedents may also recover for their loved one’s hospital bills, medical and funeral costs, and any income or services they relied upon which the victim provided. There is no cap on damages in wrongful death claims in Virginia, unless the death occurred as a result of medical malpractice.